Friday, December 30, 2005

Everybody is home!

We brought Dawn, Duffy, and Consuella home on Friday, December 23 from Nortwest Alpacas where they have been for many months for breeding. In addition, NWA "lent" us another baby alpaca! When Steve heard that Duffy would have no one to play with on our farm, he let us take one of their orphans home as a buddy. So now we have a little white male suri named Kapono on our ranch. We call him "Snowball One" to keep with the Simpson's theme. Eventually, we'll either give him back to NWA, or buy him for ourselves. Snowball is small for his size because his mother died when he was three months old, and he missed out on some good milk. He is the same size as our three-month-old Duffy, and he is extra sweet because of his contact with humans.

On Christmas Eve we went to our neighbor Polly's place (Fernhill Ranch Alpacas) to pick up Cabernet, who has been there since October because she was lonely at our ranch without her friends. She seems glad to be home with her girlfriends.

We have quarantined all of the returnees in a stall out of spitting distance from the boys because all of them have come back from farms with known coccidia problems. Even though only Dawn was ill with it at NWA, we are treating all of them on the recommendation of our vet. This is because coccidia establishes itself in the soil and then becomes a recurring problem. We hope by treating them all, we can keep this parasite off of our ranch. At the moment we are treating their water, but once we get some minerals delivered, we'll treat that as well.

One difficulty with our quarantine plan is that the far stall where the girls are is wet. We have had a lot of soaking rain in the past couple weeks, and that stall is the lowest point in the barn. Even though we put gutters up this summer, the stall is still a muddy wet mess. It breaks our hearts to put them in there every night, but we're stuck for another week of quarantine. After that, we can move them into stall #2, which doesn't have the wetness problem. Next year we ARE going to put in a drain around that side of the barn; the gutters are obviously not the solution to this problem.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmahanakwanza, and a Happy New Year!


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